Today, Monday, September 23, 2013, the UNITED STATES POST OFFICE honored the legendary late Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Philanthropist RAY CHARLES (September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004) with the release of a postage stamp that coincided with what would have been his 83rd Birthday.
TODAY reports the artwork for the stamp is based on a photograph by Yves Carrère. Designer Neal Ashby, who with art director Ethel Kessler was involved in the search for just the right photo, told the USPS publication Beyond the Perf that it was hard to find an iconic image, given Charles' long career.
"I was looking for that smile, that slight cock of the head — that almost rapturous expression he had when he performed," he said. Eventually, a photograph that was used on the album "The Best of Ray Charles" was selected.
"It’s Ray soaking in the applause and the pure joy of the moment," Kessler told Beyond the Perf. "I loved the color in his shirt and the diagonal of the photo. It’s clean and graphic, which I knew would work well at stamp size."
The release of the Charles postage stamp also coincides with a new compilation album, "Ray Charles Forever," which is due out on Tuesday, September 24th. It features recordings by Charles of standards including "America the Beautiful" and "Ring of Fire," as well a previously-unreleased recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me," which Charles often performed in his live shows.